Political and business leaders in downtown Las Vegas will consider increased security measures at the Fremont Street Experience — including an under-21 curfew — following gun violence committed in recent weeks.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she met with city, police and business officials on Tuesday to discuss expanding law enforcement presence and other tactics to make the popular pedestrian mall safer.
“I think the biggest thing we’re looking at of course is making sure that our law enforcement is very visible and that we have enough law enforcement with a presence out there so people feel comfortable and safe,” she said in an interview. “We’ve had a few outbreaks. Young people, actually, are getting into arguments and then going ahead and using a weapon. That’s not tolerable. It will not be tolerable anymore.”
The meeting came a day after shots were fired during a fight near Fourth and Fremont streets at 12:40 a.m. Monday. One man struck another, sending the victim to University Medical Center, where he was later released, police said
And a different fight on Fremont Street several weeks ago killed someone. In the early hours of June 19, a 16-year-old fatally shot a man and wounded another bystander during an armed quarrel under the Fremont Street Experience’s video-screen canopy, a place where tourists often gather to visit casinos, drink and dance.
Stakeholders at the 75-minute meeting considered multiple options to improve security on Fremont, Goodman said. Increased law enforcement presence, especially at certain evening and early morning hours and on the weekends, was discussed. Goodman said officials also plan to increase the amount of lighting at night as a crime deterrence.
‘Gonna clean up Fremont Street, period’
The city is also considering a curfew for visitors under age 21, Goodman said. The idea must be reviewed by the city’s legal team and others before seeking approval from City Council, she said.
Derek Stevens, owner of The D, Circa and Golden Gate casinos on Fremont Street, confirmed the Tuesday morning meeting and said he felt everyone involved was committed to creating a more secure venue.
“We are gonna clean up Fremont Street, period,” he said. “The country has changed. So, we’ve gotta make sure that we put Vegas as a whole, and Fremont Street, in a certain light where it’s very clearly safe and clean, and we’re committed to doing that.”
Fremont Street Experience is a privately operated entity. Officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other Fremont community members pointed out that crime and safety are not new issues for the area. Rohit Joshi, owner of the adjacent shopping mall Neonopolis, recalled a time when a prospective tenant visited on the same day of a nearby shooting. The business did not follow through with a lease.
Joshi, whose late-night tenants include a 24-hour Denny’s and karaoke bar Cat’s Meow, said each casino and most other businesses have their own security on-site. But he welcomed the idea of a larger law enforcement presence.
“Whenever there’s any sort of crime with guns or knives or any of those types of incidents, it makes everybody nervous – general public, as well as tourism and the stakeholders of downtown,” Joshi said. “However, it has happened always. This is nothing new.”
Goodman emphasized that crime and violence will be prosecuted “to the fullest.”
“If you want to come here and do something that’s illegal, wrong, or crime, go somewhere else,” she said. “We don’t want you, we will not tolerate you here.”
McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.